Goondicum Resources did not have state approval to bulldoze a 900 metre alignment to create a new road on their lease near Monto, a fact they readily admit.
The Department of Environment is investigating after receiving a complaint from Rob and Nadia Cambell, the graziers who owns the land on which Goondicum’s Ilmenite mine is situated.
The Department told the Campbells that “inspection observations confirmed your allegations that unauthorised clearing and road works had been conducted along a section of State Land… the inspection also confirmed impacts to wildlife”.
The area is home to the endangered glossy black cockatoo and the native pebble mound mouse.
According to the ABC, managing director of Goondicum Resources, Mark McCauley admitted the company had acted irresponsibly.
“What we did wrong was we didn’t have the appropriate approval for the 900-metre realignment,” Mr McCauley said.
“We should’ve waited for the approval, or put the road on the existing road reserve, or we should have obtained vegetation clearances.”
“We are working with all departments to get a vegetation clearance in retrospect. We can’t hide from the fact we should have waited for approvals,” he said.
However the Campbells were in for a rude shock some weeks after notifying the Department, with a letter arriving from a law firm representing Goondicum Resources;
“Basically Rob was threatened with a restraining order for being on his own property looking after his own cattle,” Mrs Campbell told the ABC.
The letter from Goondicum Resources’ lawyers warned the Campbells: “Unless you immediately desist from your conduct in harassing our client’s employees and contractors, it will without further notice commence proceedings against you for a restraining order.”
The legal letter also warned the company would seek compensation for losses “suffered through the delay that your harassment… has caused our client”.
The issue has now been referred to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.